IT Pro Verdict
Pricey and slow, the iStorage diskAshur DT doesn't look like much of a contender when it comes to external storage, but this unique device has plenty going for it. A PIN number system that locks out anyone trying to get at your data, numerous other security features, and build quality that few drives can match. It's expensive, but if security is important, it's a price worth paying.
External hard disks are ten-a-penny, and it's easy to see why they're so popular: 3.5in models serve up a huge amount of storage and offer more versatility than internal disks, whereas the 2.5in models combine capacity with portability.
However, few external disks take security into account - something iStorage has concentrated on to set it apart from rivals.
The primary feature on the bizarrely named 3TB diskAshur DT is the number pad. In fact, you can't start using the device without setting up a PIN.
Setting a password requires keys to be held down simultaneously and default passwords entered in a seven-point process. A PIN can be between 6 and 16 digits long.
The number pad has lock and cancel buttons, as well as letters on the keys in similar fashion to phone keypads, but it's not a particularly intuitive system to initially use.
The diskAshur DT is set up for business use. Administrators can have their own account and store ten separate PIN numbers on the device. This allows groups of people to use the device with admins able to restrict information. This is ideal if you're storing or backing up sensitive data.
The diskAshur DT comes with 256-bit AES military grade protection
There's little chance of the PIN number being guessed or hacked. It's protected by 256-bit AES hardware encryption, which meets the US military's security standards.
The 256-bit version of the algorithm is the toughest there is. It sends text and data through a number of "transformation rounds", converting plain characters into encrypted data. The 256-bit version goes through 14 rounds of transformation, with the weaker 128-bit and 192-bit versions using 10 and 12 rounds of encryption respectively.
Mike Jennings has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has been fascinated by computers since childhood, when he spent far too long building terrible websites. He loves desktop PCs, components, laptops and anything to do with the latest hardware.
Mike worked as a staff writer at PC Pro magazine in London for seven years, and during that time wrote for a variety of other tech titles, including Custom PC, Micro Mart and Computer Shopper. Since 2013, he’s been a freelance tech writer, and writes regularly for titles like Wired, TechRadar, Stuff, TechSpot, IT Pro, TrustedReviews and TechAdvisor. He still loves tech and covers everything from the latest business hardware and software to high-end gaming gear, and you’ll find him on plenty of sites writing reviews, features and guides on a vast range of topics.